Recent Superhero Film Casting

mos cast

The big news blazing across the Internet lately has been over the recent spate of castings for roles in upcoming superhero films. Normally, the news would bring about satisfied grunts from fans all over, but some decisions and even just the rumors have been quite controversial.

Initial Grumblings

It all started in earnest late last year with the revelation that Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel. Many were very surprised by this decision and some complained that she was too skinny. Guess what? So was Christopher Reeve and bulked up just fine and in time for Superman.

gal

There were some grumblings around that time when fans learned that Elizabeth Olsen will appear as Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in next year’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. But in the end, most had enough confidence in director Joss Whedon to give the actress the benefit of the doubt. Besides, the main cast will reprise their roles, so how much screen time will Olsen have anyway?

Then, a couple of weeks ago, fandom started raising ire when it was announced that Michael Douglas will play Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie that is also coming out next year.  pymWhile Paul Rudd’s casting as Scott Lang, the film’s main character was acceptable for many, a bunch of whiners started going off about Douglas’ age and that the choice veers significantly from the version seen in the comic books. In the end, the movie will be about Lang and it does follow the comic books’ canon. Scott Lang did take over the Ant-Man duties from Pym and made a name for himself. Douglas is an Oscar-winning actor of high caliber and he can add needed depth and pathos to Pym. So he should be fine.

After that the Internet really went into a tizzy when rumors about the potential cast for the Fantastic Four reboot started surfacing. Director Josh Trank has been working overtime on Twitter to deny many rumors, yet it wasn’t enough to satisfy Fantastic Four fans. Trank denied in August of last year that actor Miles Teller wasn’t in consideration to play Reed Richards, but recent rumors have it that he has the role locked up along with Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Things seemed to calm down a bit when actor Josh Gad, rumored to be the pick for Ben Grimm, went on record to deny this latest claim. Continue reading

Advertisements

Best Of 2013

 

 GRAVITY securing-yard

Best Sci-Fi TV Show

Doctor Who has been going on for fifty years and it’s still an entertaining and imaginative romp. The show was at its creative peak this season thanks to wonderful scripts, a spunky new Companion (Jenna Coleman) and Matt Smith’s perfect portrayal of our favorite time-traveling alien. All this was topped off with its fiftieth anniversary special that united the Doctor with past incarnations to save his world.

dr who

Best Horror TV Show:

The Walking Dead is the best genre show on TV right now and for good reason. Gory, suspenseful and gripping, The Walking Dead reached creative heights with the introduction of the evil Governor (David Morrissey), who was a greater force for our heroes to grapple with than the flesh-eating zombies. The show has become a must-see event with each new episode.

Best Fantasy Show

thronesGame of Thrones, man can the Starks ever catch a break? The wedding event was a surprising game changer and the body count both infuriated many and created new fans of this adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga. Its rich production values, dense plotlines and acting make it one of the best shows on TV.

Best Documentary/Reality Show

Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited, throughout the year BBCAmerica aired at the end of the month three-hour long specials that examined each incarnation of the Doctor starting from William Hartnell’s era up to the present. Then once that was done, we were treated to episodes from each era. This was a great way for old and new fans to see each version of Doctor Who.

Best Cancelled TV Show

Touch was cancelled after its second season, touchwhich was too bad. After its over reliance on touchy, feel-good stories in its first season, Touch switched gears and introduced an evil corporation that wanted to kidnap Jake Bohm (David Mazouz) to harness his near-precognitive ability. Meanwhile, he was stalked by a religious fanatic. With these developements, Touch added a much-needed narrative and purpose as Jake’s father (Keifer Sutherland) struggled to understand his son and protect him.

Best Animated Show

Beware The Batman, the computer-animated show looked at the early years of the Dark Knight’s crime-fighting career. The stories and the animation were great, as was the use of lesser-known villains like Firefly and Anarky. We cannot wait to see new episodes next month!

batman

Best TV Character

The Doctor (Matt Smith) in Doctor Who was very memorable this year thanks in large part to Smith’s performance. Showing an unexpected maturity while retaining his zest for life, the Doctor was someone who was a joy to watch as he outwitted his foes. Sadly, while Smith was at his peak, he decided to leave the show. But his last couple of outings were a tour de force and brought a tear to the eyes in his final moments as he reflected on how while things will always change, it’s important to remember your past.

Most Missed TV Character

rick and hershelHershel Greene (Scott Wilson) in The Walking Dead was a gentle and wise patriarch and the voice of reason for the show’s characters, especially Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). As the show’s moral compass, Hershel’s shocking death at the hands of the Governor was outrageous and we can only wonder how Rick and the others will carry on without him now.

Best TV Villain

The Governor (David Morrissey) in governorThe Walking Dead was one of the most malicious, manipulative and sadistic characters ever to grace a TV show. His character elevated the show as he and his machinations were one of the best reasons to tune in each week. His well-deserved death after the destruction he created was welcomed, but we can’t help wondering how the show’s creators will follow up this character. 

Most Improved TV show

Supernatural and many other genre shows greatly improved this year. But the long-running show about two brothers facing down the supernatural found new life in its latest episodes. Gone was the turgid storyline about the Leviathan with a renewed emphasis on Castiel (Misha Collins) and the troublesome angels that are just as bad as the demons in the show.

Best Series Finale

fringe season 5Fringe, the show came to a very satisfying conclusion very early in 2013. The storyline wrapped up the future invasion of the Observers and we got to see the parallel world for one last time. More importantly, we were allowed to say goodbye to the quirky characters that defined Fringe. The final episode’s last image of the white tulip drawing that Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) held was pure perfection. Thanks guys for five great years of stimulating weirdness. We’ll leave out some licorice for Walt if he ever leaves the distant future and drops by to visit.

Biggest Disappointment

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Joss Whedon, the  mastermind behind Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Firefly, is the show’s executive producer. For Pete’s sake he directed The Avengers! How could this show be so bland with generic and annoying characters? Instead of elite, badass super spies this show is riddled with so-called cute and perky morons that should be tossed from that S.H.I.E.L.D. plane at the first chance!

Best Sci-Fi Film

Gravity, it was a hard choice graitybetween this and Pacific Rim. An argument can be made that Gravity isn’t really a sci-fi film, but there are a few elements that imply that it is such as a still functioning space shuttle program (perhaps it’s an alternate reality?) and the nature of the space disaster. Nonetheless, Gravity was an electrifying and immersive viewing experience thanks to its perfect depiction of living in space and direction by Alfonso Cuarón’s expert hands.

Best Horror Film

The Conjuring set out what it wanted to do, which was to provide good, old-fashioned scares thanks to James Wan’s direction. What is even more frightening to ponder at night when you’re all alone is that this was supposedly based on actual events.  

Best Fantasy Film

smaugThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson continues his journey into Middle Earth with this lush and exciting adventure. The entire affair was elevated to new heights with the revelation of the dragon Smaug. His presence was so captivating that it made some forget about Gollum!

Best Animated Film

Monsters University, none of 2013’s animated movies were really exceptional, but this was the best one released. A surprisingly good and effective prequel that accomplished its goal of examining its main characters and helping audiences understand where they came from. It was also very funny.

Best Superhero Film

Man Of Steel, after the perceived misfire of Superman Returns years ago, it seemed that making an exciting Superman movie was impossible. Well, folks it was done with Man Of Steel. It had its flaws (another round at the editing station could’ve helped) and was controversial, but it’s clear that it got people talking about Superman again. Those fight scenes over Metropolis and Smallville were really epic, too.

MAN OF STEEL

Best Superhero on Film

Superman in Man Of Steel, thanks to Henry Cavill’s performance the Man of Tomorrow became relevant again in this bold and exciting film. While Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, Cavill’s interpretation takes him to the new century.

Best Film Character

GRAVITYDr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) in Gravity. She was the emotional core of the movie and audiences empathized with her as she found her inner resolve to fight on and survive in a hostile environment. Audiences couldn’t help but root for her during her struggles with herself and her plight.

Best Film Villain

Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Star Trek kahn2Into Darkness. One of the highlights from the latest Star Trek film was Kirk’s greatest nemesis. Putting aside the complaints about using the genetic superman in the rebooted Trek, it can’t be denied that Cumberbatch gave a chilling performance.

Best Surprise In Film

World War Z, it should’ve been DOA like After Earth given its many production problems. It went into massive reshoots, which delayed its release. All this spelled a crappy film, yet this zombie apocalypse film was actually well done.

Best Use of 3D & IMAX In a Film

Gravity is the kind of film tailor made for 3D and IMAX with its space visuals that looked so realistic. The entire thing looked like it was actually filmed up in the I.S.S. It’s hard to see how typical home theater can do this film any justice when it’s released on Blu-ray and other outlets.

Best Trailer For an Upcoming Film

Godzilla, beat out a crowded crop of many excellent trailers (X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Transcendence, Interstellar) but this one hit all the right notes with its ominous mood. From the beginning with the Navy SEALs preparing to take on a force of nature to the mayhem shown in quick cuts, Godzilla is now a must-see for 2014.

Best App

Plants Vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to the hit app is one of the best free apps around. Addictive with great content and game play, Plants Vs. Zombies 2 is worth downloading to your devices.

Best Online Social Network Game

AAMarvel: Avengers Alliance, is a very addictive, turn-based game based on the Marvel superheroes. It’s very buggy and the player vs. player feature is annoying as hell, but it’s a lot of fun to play. The game rocked fans with the introductions of obtainable lockbox characters and group bosses that had to be fought by you and your allies online.

Best Video Game

Bioshock: Infinite, the sequel to the superb Bioshock video game took the story in a new and fresh direction, in a year with many great games like The Last Of Us, this one stood out thanks to its storyline and game features.

Best Hallmark Ornament

It wasn’t the best year for genre ornaments with the slim pickings offered by Hallmark. Still, the Star Trek ornament based on the classic episode “Arena” is our pick for best Hallmark ornament. Whether it was the sight of Kirk cowering in terror from the might of the Gorn or hearing the alien hiss, this ornament is a very kitschy thing to hang on a tree.

Biggest News Item

Forget the government shutdown and batsupe symbolthe Obamacare debacle! The news that truly shook fandom came in the summer when it was announced that the Man Of Steel sequel would pit Superman against the Caped Crusader himself, Batman! DC and Warner Brothers have clearly thrown the gauntlet at Marvel and its cinematic universe. Each new update, ranging from Ben Affleck being cast as Batman to the confirmation that Wonder Women will appear has sent fandom into tizzies.

*Be sure to check out our Facebook page for our lists of the top 10 films and TV shows of 2013.

Superman’s Appeal After 75 Years

byrne supermanThis year we celebrated many important milestones like anniversaries for well-loved works like Iron Man, The Wizard Of Oz, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Avengers and recently Doctor Who. But before the year ends, there is one very important anniversary that should be acknowledged because the introduction of this character heralded the rise of superheroes in popular culture. That person is Superman of course, who first graced the pages of Action Comics #1 75 years ago. As everyone knows, he’s one of the most recognizable fictional characters ever created and his popularity is only rivaled by Batman and Spider-Man when it comes to superheroes.

People may wonder why is Superman still popular after 75 years? There are other superheroes out there with flashier costumes and more intriguing backgrounds. He didn’t become a superhero because someone close to him was a crime victim. He is considered to be a big boy scout with upstanding morals and is actually one of the most overpowered superhumans around. On paper a character like that would be considered boring, and honestly, many of his stories were dull. But that was usually the fault of the writers or editors who didn’t know how to handle this iconic superhero. Despite these limitations Superman continues to capture the imaginations of many fans young and old. So what is it about him that makes him popular? Is it because he is the first of the modern-day mythological beings? Or is it something more?

It could be that Superman represents the American Success Story. Think about it, he is the ultimate immigrant action comics 1who arrived in our shores (via rocket ship instead of a boat or plane) and he excelled. Thanks to the powers he gained from being on Earth, Superman was able to make his life better and to contribute to society. Consider this, if he remained on Krypton, he would not have the powers of flight, super strength and so on. While he may have made some impact on Kryptonian society just for being the son of Jor-El, a noted scientist, it’s unlikely he would’ve stood out like he does here on Earth. Even in his secret identity as Clark Kent, he was able to rise to the top of his field as a journalist. He is the embodiment of the American experience, which is subtly appealing to many readers.

More than that, Superman is the prototype and  standard bearer not just for superheroes but for all of us. Thanks to his upbringing by kind and ethical parents, Clark Kent is imbued with a strong moral fiber. What helps is that his humble personality makes him relatable. This may be uncool with some people, especially those that like dark and conflicted heroes, but this is what makes him so attractive to many others. Parents can rest easy letting their children read about his exploits and not worry about gratuitous violence or dark plots. For someone who may be tired of reading about morally compromised so-called heroes, Superman can be a breath of fresh air. His adventures can be just enjoyed for what they are: rousing, fun-filled romps where he has to use his wits and skills to win the day. What helped Superman in those situations wasn’t his super strength but his moral fiber and knowing right from wrong.

super diesOne of his best modern adventures are the famous “Death Of Superman”, “Funeral For A Friend” and “Return Of Superman” storylines from the early ’90s, which started in Superman: The Man Of Steel #18 and concluded with Superman Vol. 2 #82. Superman faced his greatest physical threat in the form of the monstrous alien Doomsday and he was killed by the hulking creature. The shocking storyline, no exaggeration, gripped the nation and made headlines. Superman was supposed to be invulnerable, how could he die? How could DC Comics do this to their iconic hero? Readers, collectors, and the curious swamped comic book shops to get their hands on the pivotal Superman Vol .2 #75 (where he died) and its surrounding storylines. The Superman creative team at that time expertly produced this exciting saga and kept readers intrigued with clues to his resurrection. Along the way, these issues provided a nice boom to the comic book industry. Unfortunately, the market crashed  a few short years later thanks to speculators, poor stories and gimmick covers all comic book publishers, but that’s another story. All in all, this event proved that Superman still held appeal to comic book fans and mainstream society when he is given compellingly written and beautifully drawn stories.

????????????

To this day, the Man of Tomorrow is still appealing. It can be seen from his successful crossover into other media like toys, video games, TV shows and of course movies. This was reaffirmed most recently by the smashing success of this summer’s film Man Of Steel, which rebooted and reinvigorated the Superman movie franchise. Now headlines are being generated for each new development on the upcoming sequel which looks to be a springboard for a Justice League film. Still, as successful as Man Of Steel was, the film had many detractors who decried the changes made to the character and his situation. But looking back on his long history, Superman has always been a dynamic, changing  character. Today’s version is very different from 1930s version.

People often think of John Byrne’s run in the Superman comics  in the ’80s when it comes to reboots. But the jim lee supermanMetropolis Marvel’s history shows that he has constantly been changed even during his early years. At first, Superman couldn’t fly, Lex Luthor and Kryptonite didn’t come along until much later and Superman used phone booths to change into his costume–a quaint notion with today’s fans! Even the way he looked back in the ’30s was different than the iconic look he’s had until The New 52 reboot came along and did away with his red trunks. All this proves is that the character’s enduring success is because of his ability to adapt to the times while at the same time, his character’s core remains the same. Detractors often wind up accepting these changes once they realize that the essence of the character is still there. That is why Superman will continuing winning over new fans and be a part of our culture for more than another 75 years.

Lewis T. Grove & José Soto

*NOTE: The above art was done by the following iconic artists: John Byrne, Joe Shuster, Dan Jurgens and Jim Lee.

Man of Steel Forced To Share The Spotlight With The Dark Knight

supermashup

With the recent announcement of the Man Of Steel sequel and the revelation that it will be a matchup between Batman and Superman, there was disappointment expressed by some fans. They complained that Superman will not be getting his own sequel movie and instead will have to share precious screen time with the Dark Knight.

affleck batmanThere is some validity to these concerns since now, for many, this movie will be seen as the next Batman movie instead of the second Man Of Steel film. Also, the speculation about who will be playing Batman (now known to be Ben Affleck), as well as how Batman will be portrayed will take away much of the needed attention from Superman when it should be instead focused on building Superman’s new universe. It has been a while since Superman has been relevant and Man Of Steel was successful in reestablishing him as a viable action hero. Superman is entitled to his own solo movies and not have to share the spotlight with a character that could upstage him. Now, the momentum has been halted and Superman will have to wait until after this new movie or even after the Justice League movie is eventually released to get another solo movie.

But that won’t be until 2017. By then, the movie-going public could be tired of comic book movies and be ready for something else. At the same time, I can sort of understand why Warner Bros. is doing this: The Avengers.

The movie studio saw The Avengers’ box office returns and how well received it was with the public. worlds finestThey want their own super hero movie mashup and don’t want to wait for another Man Of Steel movie followed by a standalone Batman movie to introduce their other main character. Marvel had time to do this with the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America movies coming out one year at a time. DC doesn’t really have time to do this with The Avengers: Age Of Ultron coming in 2015. They need something to compete with it, and a movie with Superman alone might not be enough. So we get Superman vs. Batman, which has generated a lot of buzz and excitement.

MAN OF STEEL

Hopefully it will help to create a new and exciting DC movie universe that will allow Superman to eventually have his own proper sequel. More importantly that sequel should continue Superman’s interesting character development that Man Of Steel has started.

C.S. Link

Ben Affleck Is The New Batman!

add

In a stunning move, Ben Affleck has just been picked to play Batman for the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel. This is a truly stunning and daring casting pick considering how reviled he was for playing Daredevil a few years ago.

In fact, for years Affleck has gone out of his way to disavow his role in Daredevil and inferred that he was done with playing superheroes. His Hollywood career seemed to have suffered for playing the blind superhero, but he was able to switch gears and built an impressive resume as a film director. This culminated with his acclaimed directing job for the Oscar-winning film Argo. So for him to go back and playing another superhero, especially a high-profile one like Batman is a puzzling move.

Perhaps Warner Bros. threw a lot of money at him and he changed his mind. This is just speculation, but maybe he was offered a shot at directing the impending Justice League film and him playing the Caped Crusader was part of the deal.

batsIn a press release posted on Facebook, director Zack Snyder stated that “Ben provides and interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bear the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

This casting choice literally comes out of left field considering other more visible candidates seemed to be in the running to play Batman. It’s a bold and risky move that can alienate many fans. Can Ben Affleck pull it off? Will he be the next Christian Bale or the next Nicolas Cage? Does this also mean he will play Batman in other films? Stay tuned, same Bat time…you know the rest.

Waldermann Rivera